March 03, 2005

Chapter 27, in which I lose it entirely about pre-movie advertising

This is exciting news. A New York City Councilwoman has introduced legislation that would force theaters to advertise when movies actually start, for people (like me) who HATE HATE HATE WITH A BURNING HATE-FILLED PASSION OF HATE advertisement before movies.

Of course, this hypothetical law will be entirely meaningless for really popular movies, because you need to arrive early for such movies if you want to get a decent seat or not have to split up your group all over the theater. Also somewhat mitigating my excitement is the possibility that, though the law may raise consciousness about just how much time is wasted by advertising, the end result may very well be to create a preshow experience equivalent to "The 2wenty", which I HATE EVEN MORE THAN THE WAY I HATED THE PREVIOUS THING I RESORTED TO ALL CAPS FOR OH SO MUCH FUCKING HATE YOU HAD BETTER NOT STAND NEXT TO ME UNLESS YOU WANT HATE TO SPLASH ON YOU YEAH THAT'S RIGHT IF AURAS WEREN'T NEW AGE HOOEY MY AURA WOULD LOOK LIKE A FIERY RED HEDGEHOG OF HATEY HATE HATE WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE THRICE-DAMNED 2WENTY.

Some of you people may be unaware of "The 2wenty", which is a goddamn motherfucking 20-minute-long string of advertisements that takes place during the portion of the moviegoing experience during which, in the past, one would expect to spend hearing music over the PA, maybe seeing slides on the screen, and talking to the people one went to the movies with. "The 2wenty" neatly circumvents the problem of how, when you're talking to people, you are not necessarily facing the screen and absorbing advertising. It does this by blaring at such a volume that conversation is rendered impossible.

Mind you, a 2003 study claims that moviegoers don't mind pre-movie advertising -- hell, they love it!

Among younger movie fans aged 12 to 24, the percentage who do not mind seeing the ads rose to 70 percent, according to the study conducted by Arbitron Inc.

Huh. And as for "The 2wenty" in particular:

"Overwhelmingly, most of our patrons tell us they enjoy it (the 20-minute segment)," said Cliff Marks, president marketing and sales for Regal CineMedia.

Yeah. I would expect, overwhelmingly, most of your patrons don't tell you anything about it either way, because they don't expect that they can do anything about it. Not me, though! The first time I saw a movie that subjected me to "The 2wenty" (at the Union Square 14), I filled out a little form on which I registered my displeasure. They're still showing the damn thing, and I try never to go to that theatre anymore. What can we learn from this? Well, perhaps that people who really hate advertisements don't go to as many movies as they used to, and are thus not around to answer your stupid survey, because the moviegoing experience is unpleasant, and who wants to pay through the nose for something that's unpleasant? Giant hedgehogs do not fit in theater seats, and so theaters should perhaps make an effort not to turn their audiences into giant fiery red hedgehogs of hate. That's all I'm saying.

Posted by Francis at 08:53 PM | TrackBack

It will probably not surprise you to learn that the questions Arbitron asked in their survey were somewhat, shall we say, biased towards advertisements. From a Sam Allis column in last week's Boston Globe:

"[Cinema Advertising Council President Matthew] Kearney says that, according to an Arbitron survey taken last year, 70 percent of movie viewers either like or tolerate the commercials. (Actually, 71 percent of those between the ages of 12 and 24 answered yes to the question: "I don't mind the advertisements they put on before the movie begins." The number drops to 62 percent for the 25 to 54 age bracket and 59 percent for 55 and above.)

"[CineMedia President of Sales and Marketing Clifford] Marks comes up with similar data, but then his top research guy, Douglas Pulick, concedes no one was asked directly if he or she would favor no ads at all."

You have to pay for the full story from the Globe's web site, or you can just follow this link to the copy someone posted online.

Posted by: Debby at March 3, 2005 09:53 PM

Hi hi, Just wanted to tell you that Michelle and I call Union Sq-14th St movie theater "Alcatraz" because of one time when we went there and all the ticket machines were broken, there were these insane lines, and the security guards were screaming and yelling at people in their faces... a total mob scene. Worst movie theater ever!!!

Posted by: Col at March 4, 2005 11:23 AM

Yay, someone who hates pre-movie ads even more than I do! I keep trying to think of a way to protest them (like a bunch of us putting on eyeshades and headphones in the theater) but really it seems the best thing to do is to avoid those theaters as much as possible. I have to go to a Regal cinema if I want to see "Bride and Prejudice" this weekend, but since it's the arthouse theater, they at least don't crank up the sound on The 2wenty. God, I HATE that thing. It is actually migraine-inducing. Just what I need to enjoy a movie ... a migraine.

Posted by: jette at March 4, 2005 12:32 PM

I'm with you - Too much advertising is a huge pet peeve of mine. I play online games as a diversion and one that I don't play has recently become free to play - Billboards in the game itself have been sold. It seems there's no escape from them anywhere these days. If you come up with a grand idea to stop the movie ads, count me in.

Posted by: Jim at March 4, 2005 01:48 PM

Enter the theater 20 minutes late to miss all the advertisements. They aren't going to sell more tix than seats, so you'll find a spot.

Posted by: Pimme at March 4, 2005 02:15 PM

Yeah, but not a spot I want. I like theaters that have arena seating, and I like sitting on the slope (don't have to crane my neck, other people's heads don't get in my way). If you don't arrive promptly, you ain't gettin' those seats. More likely, you're on the floor in the second row from the screen all the way over by the wall. I do not consider such seats worth paying money for.

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